Damage to private infrastructure by trees under Council’s responsibility

Introduction | Assessment of existing trees | Tree limbs overhanging private property | Damage to private infrastructure by trees under Council's responsibility | Possible termite/pest activity in trees | Tree maintenance | Tree maintenance by residents | Planting of new trees | Requests for new trees | Identification of need | Selecting the right location for your new tree | Preferred species | Preferred species list | Tree planting and tree care

Damage to private infrastructure by trees under Council’s responsibility


Tree root growth is opportunistic and can invade or disturb underground or surface structures e.g. pipes, foundations, paths and fences. The cutting of tree roots on private property from trees growing on Council property requires permission from Council. This is because a significant cause of tree failure is previous root damage. Thus, if tree roots are damaging paths, paving or fencing, then repair/replacement of the structure must be considered before the trees removal.

It is the responsibility of the property owner to maintain their underground pipes. Common drainage lines are the responsibility of all residents who benefit from them.

If the owner/person responsible for the sewer/stormwater pipes has evidence of tree roots in them and the pipes cannot be repaired/replaced without seriously damaging a Council tree and there are no other alternatives such as moving the pipes, consideration will be given to the removal of the tree.

In the event of tree roots from trees on Council property invading sewer and/or stormwater pipe/s, Council may cover the expense of having tree roots cleaned from the sewer and/or stormwater pipe/s between the residence and the main. This will be at the discretion of Council’s relevant officer who may require a qualified plumber’s report to identify the root source. Council reserves the right to have a sample of the roots taken and analysed to verify the source of the roots.

Council will not normally undertake repairs to private infrastructure e.g. retaining walls, buildings, etc., suspected to be caused by trees growing on public land under the control of Council.  However, enquiries may be referred in writing to Council’s Risk and Insurance Officer for Councils insurers to consider.